health

She lost 22kg in 10 weeks. And sacrificed her health and happiness along the way.

Madeleine Humphreys is a 19-year-old film student at the University of Queensland. And in February 2014, she decided to embark on the ever-impossible quest that is consistently sold to women around the world.

She decided to try and become perfect. Perfect by society’s definition, anyway. She chose to spend 10 weeks of her life trying the diets, the exercise regimes and the beauty treatments that are constantly peddled to woman as the one thing that will make them more beautiful.

And she decided to film every step of the process and turn it into a documentary, called Am I Perfect?

Check out the trailer below:

While the documentary hasn’t yet been released, Madeleine has completed the 10-week challenge. And she’s getting plenty of attention for the challenge – largely because of the fact that, despite dropping 22kgs, she still reckons it wasn’t worth it.

You see, Madeleine’s usually a girl that doesn’t wear make-up, doesn’t exercise much and doesn’t diet or follow a healthy eating regime. Check out the below post from her Facebook page as she started her journey:

perfectHer 10-week journey required her to undertake diets such as the cabbage soup diet (exactly what it says on the label – JUST cabbage soup), the baby food diet, the watercress soup diet and a juice cleanse.

In terms of exercise routines, she tried boot camps, rock-climbing, hot yoga and even pole-dancing lessons.

And her beauty routines ranged from the relatively standard (spray tans, manicures) to the extreme (inch-loss body wraps, colonic hydrotherapies, laser freckle removal…).

She battled throughout the diets. Regular updates on her Facebook page showed that she enjoyed the variety of food permitted by the paleo diet but struggled with the rest – particularly the ones that involved ONLY consuming baby food/watercress soup/juice.

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Kate Paul, Madeleine’s friend and fellow filmmaker, told The Daily Mail that Madeleine struggled particularly through her baby food week:

That was definitely one of her lowest weeks – she was really down and struggling to complete her daily requirements.

It was a bit insane – she started going a bit crazy and dreaming about food.

She wasn’t all there sometimes and went a bit wacky. There were times when she didn’t have to train she would just stay in bed because she had no energy.

Madeleine and Kate also appeared on The Project this week to discuss the 10 weeks and Madeleine told the panel that she did actually enjoy a lot of the exercise: “The best thing was realising the importance of exercise and falling in love with a lot of exercise regimes. I was taught cross fit and I started to really enjoy that.”

But in the end, she couldn’t say that it was worth the pain that she went through.

testing fad diets
Madeleine Humphreys discovered she was not a fan of beetroot based beverages.

“I think if I went about it in a healthier way, over a longer period of time it would have been worth it,” she told the panel. “But the extremes and how sad my life was? It’s not worth it. I wasn’t happy. I was mostly ill in my bed most of the time.”

And that’s the most important thing to take away from this story.

Society’s idea of perfection is completely unattainable, as well as unhealthy and unsustainable. Don’t be seduced by the photoshopped images of models and celebrities that grace our commercials and our magazine covers.

Stay healthy and happy but don’t talk yourself into trying ridiculous trends in the form of obscene diets or expensive beauty treatments that aren’t even really proven to work.

No amount of baby food dieting, hot yoga or laser freckle removal will ever make you perfect – because, in your own way, you already are.

Have you ever tried a fad diet? How do you keep yourself healthy? Does Madeleine’s experience make you re-think the more extreme and unscientific diets out there?

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